Krakow is one of those popular monuments of Europe. Crammed with interesting nooks and hidden gems there are so many things to do in Krakow that you can easily find yourself exploring the city for weeks and you still won’t see everything.
But alas most of us don’t have weeks of holiday up our sleeve for a visit to this wonderfully ancient city. What if you’ve only booked in for a short weekend city break? Never fear, you can still enjoy the flavour of this city on a short visit to Krakow. To help you get a feel of the best bits of the city here’s a run down of things to do, see, eat and more on a two-day trip to Krakow.
Start your day with good coffee …
Everyone’s first day in Krakow should start with coffee. Why? Because this city does it well. Bunkier Cafe is a unique cafe, located in the Krakow Planty. Charming and picturesque the cafe is open year round and transforms into a cosy bar at night in the winter. It’s a great place to enjoy drinks in Krakow, think mulled wine, candle light and a happy hum of patrons.
If you’re looking for something to see in Krakow too then don’t skip stopping in at the “Bunkier Sztuki” gallery as you leave the cafe. They have a wonderful collection of contemporary artworks on display.
Ready to explore the city? Stepping out of a Bunkier Cafe will place you right in Szczepanski Square, which should most certainly be on your list of things to see in Krakow. Here is where Szołayski, a branch of the National Museum in Krakow, opened the “Szuflada Szymborskiej” exhibition in 2013. Offering an opportunity to encounter the life of Szymborska, a Polish poet and Nobel Prize winner, the exhibition displays an array of books and trinkets depicting the slightly surreal world of this literary great.
Top tip : The exhibition is on until 31 January 2017 so book in a trip soon
Discover Krakow’s Market Square before noon
For those who are interested in exploring the history of the city an interesting and relatively new attraction is the Historical Museum of the City of Krakow, located underground, beneath the Market Square.
Work constructing the underground museum began in mid 2005 and the space now consists of nearly six thousand square metres! The Historical Museum of Krakow presents not only the history of Krakow, but also its relationship to other important cities of medieval Europe. Visitors can admire preserved fragments of old roads, cemeteries of the eleventh century and numerous reconstructions.
Top tip : The museum is very popular, so we advise you to book in advance tickets!
Time for a tasty lunch
Since you will be in the vicinity of the Market Square for lunch it’s time to head to Chimera. As far as places to eat in Krakow go this has to be one of the best. Chimera is a salad bar that enjoys great popularity among both locals and tourists alike. Offering a health kick for lunch their salads, soups, dumplings and stuffed cabbage are all worth sampling. You can then wash this down with a freshly squeezed juice or nettle tea too. Or if you’re looking to indulge your sweet tooth the delicious tarts and pancakes are sure to please.
Take a visit to the seat of kings
Continuing on with things to see in Krakow this two-day tour of the city moves to Wawel Royal Castle. Take note it’s really worth booking in a whole afternoon here, this is a unique place where time stops.
When visiting Wawel Castle a lot of the areas are free, however access to some of its most extraordinary offerings do require a fee, plus with the grounds and castle being so expansive it’s best to do a little homework and plan out what you want to see before visiting. Remember also that tickets for individual exhibitions are issued for specific hours so book in early to get the time slot you want. When leaving the hill, do not forget a visit to the Dragon’s Cave too!
Top tip: Every Monday (from April 1 to October 31) between 9:30am to 1pm and on Sundays (from 2 November to 31 March) between 10am to 4pm tourists can gain free access to some parts o the castle. You must pick up your free ticket entry at the ticket office prior to entry. If you’re visiting Krakow on another day of the week look out for the 3 + 1 promotion. When you buy 3 tickets for 3 different exhibitions you can pick up another ticket for only 1 zł.
When nightfall comes it’s time to go crazy in Krakow’s clubs
In the evening Krakow experiences a true metamorphosis. With the city full of tourists Krakow changes into vibrant party like atmosphere. Whether you’re looking to move your voice and hips for a night of partying or wanting to find a space to sit back and relax after a day of sightseeing, Krakow provides a space for everyone to enjoy come nightfall.
If your feet are in the dancing mood and you’re near the Market Square then Pauza is a club happily waiting for you to join in the party. Or if you spend the evening in Kazimierz head to Klub Piękny Pies or club Alchemia.
A restful breakfast
After an evening experiencing the joys of Krakow’s nightlife it’s highly likely you’ll be in need of a hearty breakfast. Another top place to eat in Krakow is Dynia Resto Bar. With an interesting menu and plenty of breakfast specials that can be enjoyed in the peaceful garden on clear days you can easily while away a good few hours here. But keep in mind that this is a two-day guide of Krakow so don’t linger to long. There’s still more to encounter!
Discover a different side Krakow
Because Krakow is a city rich in history your second day should be spent getting to know a little of the city’s backstory, allowing you to encounter a completely different side of Krakow. Start with taking a walk to Krakow’s Kazimierz district. Kazimierz, which was once a separate town from Krakow, dates back to the nineteenth century and is an integral part of Krakow today. Over the years the Christian and the Jewish community have coexisted here and today the district is one of the major attractions on people’s list of things to see in Krakow. This includes the annual Festival of Jewish Culture, a highlight in the calendar of things to do in Krakow.
While walking around Kazimierz do not miss a visit to one of the branches of the Historical Museum of Krakow, the Stara Synagoga (the old synagogue) . In the synagogue’s interior you will find an exhibition devoted to Jewish celebrations. The main attraction here is the Torah, the central reference of the religious Judaic tradition, but you can also see elements of the costumes and handcrafted items of the religion on display.
Top tip : Free admission on Mondays from 10:00 to 14:00
Tempt your taste buds that little bit more
Before leaving this side of the city there’s yet another place to eat in Krakow that will tempt your taste buds. Dinner at Restauracja Warsztat should be on your menu of places to eat. The local salads and pastas are simply delicious and special mention must go to their lasagna!
An encounter with Spielberg
After dinner be sure to head for a tour of Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory. During World War II the factory was a place of work and shelter for many people of Jewish origin, as presented in the famous 1993 Steven Spielberg film ‘Schindler’s List’. The building has now been transformed into a museum and attacts great interest with its exhibition “Krakow – Nazi Occupation 1939-1945”, which provides a harrowing insight into this time in history.
Top tip : Head to the museum on Mondays for free. You should also know that a daily limit on the number of visitors to the museum has been introduced so it is best to pre-book a ticket with the Historical Museum of Krakow .
Spend an evening on the Vistula River
For your last evening in Krakow a top recommendation is spending the evening on the Vistula River in the Foothills district. Stop in at the Drukarnia Jazz Club where you can enjoy concerts, film screenings and the most stunning of outdoor areas that overlooks the river.
At the end, do as the local Krakowiaks do!
During your stay be sure to try the local bagels and specially street style Zapiekanki. Zapiekanka is a long baguette sliced in half and topped with cheese, mushrooms and more.
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